I bought this pattern around a year ago when I first discovered Papercut. I'd got bored of the unflattering cardigans I could find in the shops and fell in love with ballet wrap style of the Coppelia, especially after seeing Lauren's four! It's an actual wrap around design too, with long ties that thread through a gap in the side seam and can tie at the back or front. I like either! The instructions are great, especially the diagrams. I found them very easy to follow even as a knit newbie and I think even without an overlocker you could achieve a really neat clean finish. It was so quick to put together too, not including the finishing of the ties and cuffs I think I had it together in a couple of hours. And that's including getting used to the serger!
The fabric is something I've had in the stash a while, I think I got it on Goldhawk Road but can't be sure. It's beautifully soft to wear which makes me think it's a cotton but the drape is so lovely it makes me think there must be some rayon involved. Anyway, I like it and I also like a bit of a grey marl in basic! I cut it out quite a few months ago and have a vague recollection of it being a little tricky to work with as it slid about. It sewed up lovely though and works great with this style, I think it will be great over dresses in the summer. I'd like to try this pattern in a thicker more stable knit too, it would be so cosy!
As for the overlocker... I love it, I love it, I love it! I was a bit scared of it at first but took my time reading the manual and having a practice before starting. I had a mini disaster early on when I did something strange and managed to snap three of the four threads. My initial reaction involved a lot of expletives as I was hoping to avoid the nightmare of rethreading for quite some time! It did take some time, a lot of staring at diagrams and watching You Tube videos (this one is great) but it wasn't all that bad. I'm actually sort of glad it happened, as I feel I know the machine a bit better now and it's given me some confidence with it. When it came to making the cardigan I had a practice with scraps of the jersey I was using and played around with the stitch size and differential feed settings. This wasn't actually as hard as I imagined and I was soon all set to go. I'm really pleased with the smooth neat finish I achieved on most of the seams.
|Mmm...lovely overlocked seams!|
I think my fear of sewing knits has been mainly about the fear of the unknown but also because I'd read how different sewing with one knit from the next can be because of the varying levels of stretch and stability. As a general rule I like following specific instructions and knowing that that will work out, like baking using a recipe for example. The idea of needing to experiment each and every time with how much negative ease is needed dependant on the knit, or how much to stretch the neckband to achieve a nice tight finish kind of terrified me! I still feel pretty much completely clueless about types of knit fabrics, identifying the different levels of stretch and their suitability for particular projects but even after this little experience I feel more confident about being able to sew with them well. I might not know how to do a lot of it yet but I know I will be able to!
The thing I've really started to appreciate is how forgiving knits are to sew with. I realised when I was pinning together the side seams and underarm seams that the sleeves looked really wide. I did a bit of measuring and blog research and decided to reduce the size of them. I simply used a much bigger seam allowance than was called for, starting at 3/4" and grading out to nothing as I approached the underarm. I wouldn't have dared do this without careful measuring with a woven but as it was stretch I felt like I could just go for it. In actual fact I wish I'd taken off a bit more as they are still a little too loose for my liking, especially in this drapey knit. I cut an XS this time but will probably go down to an XXS all over next time depending on the stretch of the fabric I use. A definite alteration I will make is to take in the seams right up under the arms to reduce the size of the armholes. This is wearable as it is but I've never been sure about a batwing and this style is verging on it.
I will also stretch the band out much more when attaching it around the neckline next time as I had no clue how much to ease it in and I'd prefer a tighter finish in future. Something learned about seeing with knits for next time I suppose!
The only issue I had was with the construction was the cuffs. I've got very tiny wrists and as I had reduced the width of the sleeve I decided I needed to reduce the width of the cuff. I took the same amount off as I had done with the sleeves and this fits comfortably. However, as the cuffs were then so small I had real trouble fitting them around the free arm of my overlocker. I even tried on my machine instead but that was even worse! I eventually managed to get the cuffs attached on the overlocker but because the fabric was so stretched out the stitching prevents the seam from bouncing back to it's original size if you get what I mean. I've now got a wavy overlocked seam inside which I can deal with but the bulk of that makes it a bit bumpy on the outside rather than sitting flat. I'm not sure if maybe I should have altered the differential feed?
|Bumpy cuff seam|
I'm definitely going to be making this pattern up again as I just love the style so I'm considering next time maybe attaching the cuffs before sewing up the arm/side seam. My cuffs can't be much smaller than the smallest size though so I'm assuming other people must have this issue...any knit experts out there want to offer up some tips?!
|Surprisingly non fiddly point where wrap turns into straps|
I was giving myself quite a hard time about messing the cuffs up and also about the quality of my topstitching to finish off the hem band. I think I was really frustrated as these are the last two steps of the construction process and up until that point I'd been delighted with the professional looking finish I had managed (man do I love the overlocker!) I was really overanalysing the whole thing before I remembered that this is actually only the second knit garment I have made and the first ever thing I've made on an overlocker. It's quite a simple pattern but definitely more complex than a plain skirt or t-shirt, so I should be really pleased with what I'd made. And now I've given it a press and worn it for a while it turns out I am!
Well done if you've made it to the end of this post, it turned into a long one with all that learning to cover! I'm totally in love with the overlocker, completely in love with this pattern and am definitely being swayed to feeling the same about knits! To sum it up in the style of 30 Rock's Kenneth...
Stay tuned for more!